The Beach House

Vampire Owl: This is certainly not the right time to go to a beach.

Vampire Bat: We, vampires have always preferred the hills.

Vampire Owl: That is a tradition left for us by Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat: Even the Corona Virus has struggled to make it all the way to the hills under his control.

Vampire Owl: Historically, vampires have only caught bacteria, not virus.

Vampire Bat: That won’t be a statement approving our immunity.

Vampire Owl: There is nothing in a vampire that attracts a virus.

Vampire Bat: Doctor Frankenstein has said otherwise though.

Vampire Owl: All mad scientists try to prove it the other way around.

Vampire Bat: Mr Frankenstein is still a successful scientist in our realm.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) arrives at the beach house which belonged to latter’s father, and as it is not the time when the tourists make a visit, they feel that it could be found empty, just like many other buildings in the area which is supposed to be a travel destination at a certain period of time. After getting into the beach house, and spending some time together, Emily is surprised to see someone else in the house. Jane (Maryann Nagel) and Mitchell (Jake Weber) identifies themselves as friends of Randall’s father, and according to them, latter knew his father from the university. A confused Emily who is upset about almost being caught be strangers without her pants, offers that they can move out somewhere, but the elderly couple asks them to stay with them, as they have known Randall whom they addressed as Randy from those times when he was a little kid. They offer them that the youngsters could stay there in their room as much as they wanted to.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The four get along really well, and Emily comes up with her plans to study astro-biology and become a scientist, while Randall is not at all fond of studies, comes up with a packet of cannabis which they share. Emily does have doubts about what it could do to the elder couple, but Randall is sure that it is just a little, and will only help them. At the same time, there is also some heavy fog outside, and it seems rather out of this world. Jane goes out to see the same, while Mitchell follows her later. The next morning, the young couple wakes up, and Emily finds Jane in a strange state. They also find Mitchell, and he is also not in a good shape. Emily follows him, as he doesn’t come back after walking into the sea, and finds something strange catching her legs. At the same time, Randall who tries to gelp Jane finds that there is something seriousy wrong with her, and it is not something that they can understand. What is it that is haunting the area? Is it of this world or is it from another planet or dimension?

The defence of The Beach House :: This one is surely not your usual kind of movie, and it is only the name of the setting, as you look at it, without providing a chance to explore the place more – but horror does gets its significance here. The horror here is mostly based on the strange fog and the worms which get into people followed by movement inside them until a complete transformation occurs. The setting is really good, and there is terror being created by the atmosphere, even though one does wonder if it has been taken a little too lightly for this type of a movie – yet it does get to somewhat the expected level during the final stages. We get to know the terrifying situation even when that much is not shown, even though we know that there could have been more. It is Liana Liberato who lifts this movie higher, and I would say that the performances have all been pretty good, even though it is Liana who gets the chance to do much. Whether it is with the relationship or horror itself, she makes it work.

The claws of flaw :: The Beach House does have a struggle with some of its elements, and it could have used more of horror in a better way. This is not the kind of idea which we haven’t seem before, especially with the creepy little worm-like things. The scares of the fog or the mist are not that new, or used with the best possible effect. The movie does feel a little bit too long even with its short total run-time, as there is a little bit too much time spent talking, and all those talks become not too relevant for what is to follow later, a the film changes the mood almost completely. The beginning stages had already given us one kind of impression, but later stages mean something else. Creating a movie like this required more of a different kind of horror to be added to it. You see that there is a beach and the sea which are central to the tale, but the main characters don’t even jump into it or get close to thinking about at least wetting their feet, which is strange, even under these circumstances.

Performers of the soul :: Liana Liberato plays the protagonist in this movie, as she is the girl who wishes to be an astro-biologist here. It is not really the face that we have seen much, and I am sure I haven’t come across her movies before. She makes a fine scream queen, with very good job being done in between all the chaos and terror that is unleashed there. Horror, as a genre seems to suit her, and the other one which seems to be good enough to work out for her feels like romance. In the beginning, there is the case of a fading relationship, which is done with ease, and when horror comes, the same level is maintained. Noah Le Gros supports well, playing her lover. Jake Weber and Maryann Nagel plays the older couple, and their performance is also believable, but we are left without themselves before the half-time itself. But a movie like this doesn’t demand much of them, except for more from the girl who seems to go on towards the end, as people are not the ones who provide the much needed elements of horror.

How it finishes :: The Beach House makes another movie which goes divergent in pursuit of horror. It is to be noted that the movie does remind us of the short story The Colour Out of Space by HP Lovecraft as well as its fine adaptation in which Nicholas Cage stars. There is that same strange feeling that we have here, even though this one is not that colourful, and we understand that it has been made on a low budget. With Corona Virus said to be spreading by air too, we do feel that this kind of a terror is always possible too. After all, we are the ones who will be responsible for the end of this planet, speeding up the upcoming extinction event like never before, in the last few years. Therefore, we await the extinction event or just the human extinction in one way or the other. Before that, we do have movies like this one which seems to bring the end closer than ever, and that is also done in a way that it moves away from the usual stuff with ease.

Release date: 9th July 2019
Running time: 88 minutes
Directed by: Jeffrey A Brown
Starring: Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, Maryann Nagel, Michael Brumfield, Matt Maisto, Steven Corkin, Veronica Fellman, Dan Zakarija

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Cinemakkaran

What is the movie about? :: Alby (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the son of a Jacobite Christian priest (Renji Panicker) who had the wish to make him a priest when he grew up, for which he had done so many prayers alone and also with his son. But Alby’s interest is cinema and cinema only, and he has been working as assistant director in a number of movies, but hasn’t been able to go further than that with his life. Things are even more complicated in their family as he is in love with Sarah (Rajisha Vijayan), who is the daughter of a rich fisheries owner and businessman (Lal), despite actually supposed to marry Gonzalez (Jacob Gregory) who has a job offer in Italy. As Alby is a Jacobite and Sarah a Catholic, both families are against the relationship which seems to have been going on for a long time, but they just don’t care and decide to start a life of their own after a quick run-away marriage and getting a flat at a low rent.

So, what happens next? :: Their immediate neighbours are Sudheer (Vijay Babu) and Nayana (Anusree Nair) who make a rather rich couple having some easy time compared to the struggles of the newly-wed protagonists. Alby has no job and no hope in the cinema industry even after years, and the bank manager (Joy Mathew) has already threatened him to renew the loan he had taken, or the gold ornaments he had given would be sold. With the families not close to them, and his friends not able to, or ready to help him, Alby decides to take a risky step here, and that would be to steal from his neighbours. But that doesn’t go that well as he had planned, and it lands the police inspector Manikandan (Prasanth Narayanan) at the apartments. The cop has his own style of investigating, but how does it lead to Alby being in big trouble as his plan never really was to take the money for himself, and with the money still there when the police looks for it?

The defence of Oru Cinemaakkaran :: We have a tale that has its own unexpected twists here, and it goes on with some nice fun elements in the first half, and fine suspense factor in the second. The movie’s attempt seems to be to bring more than one genre into action. Most of the viewers, especially the family audience of the festival season might still love the first half more. The deviation from the movie-making is rather good considering the fact that it would have been a rather predictable tale with one wishing to be someone huge in the film industry. There are some nice songs to go with this movie, and they are all nicely taken visually too. The lead pair is really good together, and there are those sequences involving them which are certainly the highlights of this movie. They have also nicely transformed the simple things into more interesting factors, and it is the way in which most of the things which are presented that needs the applause.

The claws of flaw :: The movie, unlike expected, is not about what happens with a person going through his movie experiences, and that is certain to have a lot of people confused, or even disappointed at some point. If you were expected something like Udayananu Tharam or Padmasree Bharat Dr. Saroj Kumar, that is surely not going to happen. There is also the deviation in the second half leading to those twists, which is rather too much of a divergence, that affects the overall stuff and its quality. With its funny and exciting beginning, we would expect things to go deeper and stronger, at least with its comedy. Also, the movie could have just ended nicely without trying too much of unnecessary things – we find the need to fill in for some missing logic, and those wastage of characters that remain rather underdeveloped. We needed more here too, that is for sure.

Performers of the soul :: After Kunjiramayanam and the smaller roles in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Oru Muthassi Gada as well as playing the titular character in the underrated feel-good movie, Aby, Vineeth Sreenivasan is back playing the protagonist once again. We see him being comfortable throughout the movie, and he has this character completely in control. We see the humour as well as the emotional side working so well for him here. Rajisha Vijayan who had won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also had a formidable presence in Georgettan’s Pooram, and this one also has her playing a Catholic girl falling in love with someone outside her caste as Elizabeth, Merlin and Sarah respectively. She remains simple, and strong in her display of character here. There is a certain amount of happiness that she spreads with her incredbly cute performance here.

Further performers of the soul :: There is not much difference in Renji Panicker’s role here, as he had played the father of a jobless son who doesn’t listen to anyone in Georgettan’s Pooram too – he played a Mar Thoma priest then, and is playing a Jacobite priest this time; it seems that there are not many people who can play the role of a priest or a father than him. Here, we have him doing them both very well as expected, even with lesser screen presence. Lal makes an impact for the short period of time when he is there too. Vijay Babu, despite having a nice character to play, gets to be there for lesser period of time too. Anusree is good in this role, and we have her playing the city girl for a change. Noby Marcose and Hareesh Perumanna share some moments of fun in this one, and Prasanth Narayanan comes rather late, as if he was called as an extra add-on in the form of a rather strange character. We expected Jacob Gregory to stay though.

How it finishes :: When you have someone like Vineeth Sreenivasan in the lead, or even has his name associated with a movie, you can be sure that there will something in there, and it is on him and Rajisha Vijayan that this movie depends the most. For this Eid festival season, we are sure to have an interesting list of movies beginning from Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran to go for even more to come in the weeks to follow. As more movies are to follow like Role Models, we have Oru Cinemakkaran seemingly attracting more audience. As of now, it seems that we will have the holidays extended to Tuesday, and as the vacation is longer, we are certain to have more viewers, and a bigger need for more movies to choose from. There has been a shortage of Malayalam movies, and this one will stay for longer considering the need to have more and more of these.

Release date: 24th June 2017
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Leo Thaddeus
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Rajisha Vijayan, Renji Panicker, Anusree Nair, Lal, Vijay Babu, Kottayam Pradeep, Prasanth Narayanan, Noby Marcose, Hareesh Perumanna, Joy Mathew, Sasi Kalinga, Jaffer Idukki, Jennifer Antony, Jacob Gregory (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Baby

baby (1)

Vampire Owl :: I am so confused that I can’t make a decision which movie to watch this weekend.

Vampire Bat :: It is the calming time after the tsunami which was Vikram’s I. Every Malayalam movie was waiting to avoid a release competing with the big thing that was I, because they understood what the best possible result for their movies was.

Vampire Owl :: There are so many Malayalam movies and a Hindi movie in the local theatres – how can we choose this time?

Vampire Bat :: I say, we toss a coin.

Vampire Owl :: I say we look at the theatre list.

Vampire Bat :: The irony is that the best movie might not come to our nearby theatres. It is how things work.

Vampire Owl :: And these movies are going to be mutually destructive to each other, and it is a shame that they release together.

Vampire Bat :: I say, you drive the motor-bike straight; we will go through the path which has less traffic and reach any theatre and watch the movie there.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, let fate decide.

Vampire Bat :: Unless fate is like Uncle Dracula.

[Reaches a theatre].

What is it about? :: During a mission in Istambul, Indian special agent Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar) manages to uncover details about a number of possible terrorist attacks against India from outside, which is from a few people who are part of a terrorist organization in the neighbouring country and also from the inside which includes a group of brainwashed people. As Maulana Mohammed Rahman (Rasheed Naz) plots about the same from outside the nation, Bilal Khan (Kay Kay Menon) escapes from prison and plans from inside the country. To stop these attacks, the team of Ajay Singh Rajput and Priya Suryavanshi (Taapsee Pannu) have to first go to Nepal and find the first link, and then Ajay and another team will have to go to Saudi Arabia in a more dangerous mission. Can the team go past all their obstacles and come out victorious using all their skills?

The defence of Baby :: This movie gives you no nonsense, and it is all about action, that too in a rather believable collection of events. There are no flying bodies here, and fighting and getting beaten up actually means that. The best thing is that this doesn’t go in the path of Holiday which was always trying to take itself down; here we don’t say our hero making fake speech about patriotism, because we get it from the way in which the movie progresses. There are some nice dialogues about being secular and being Indian, but patriotism is something that runs through this movie and preaching about it is never needed. There is no dumb romance as in the movie or any full song, and this one is bloody serious about how it goes. The only comparison that can be made is with Madras Cafe, but that one was more realistic and cent percent serious; striving towards perfection – this one has its own serious comedy here and there which works. The visuals of three abroad locations are nice too. The background music also works. The thrills are plenty.

The Claws of Flaw :: Our hero is still beyond mistakes except for a few, and his family life was something of not much need here, plus no other family is shown in the whole movie. This reminds us of Mission Impossible franchise too, especially with the first scene involving Tom Cruise’ Ethan Hunt saving Keri Russell’s character – Akshay Kumar does something similar here. There is also a certain amount of drag associated with this, but that is very rare and happening more due to the length of the movie and the effort to stretch the thrilling moments further more. There is also the lesser use of the female cast when they were actually doing good. There might be some loopholes here and there in the movie too, and considering the build-up, a bigger climax and ending would have been expected. Everything comes together too easily by the end and it is a “terrorist hunting happily ever after” finish.

Performers of the soul :: Akshay Kumar goes in and comes out strong in this movie, as he works his way to perfection with his character. I would believe that this is exactly how the character was supposed to be; mostly emotion-free, sharp and improvising. This is the type of Akshay Kumar who is awesome. After all, he is the khiladi as we know him, and this is one role in which he can play his best. Madhurima Tuli is one of the prettiest faces on the screen indeed, but she is restricted to a small role here which she manages with ease and lights up those moments. Taapsee Pannu, the other female lead gets more to do on the screen, but her role is also limited to one mission; still she manages to do some stunts and make an impact. Anupam Kher is very good there too, and he along with Rana Daggubati and our protagonist makes a nice, interesting, lethal and funny combination which makes the need for a sequel right there. All the villains are effective, but it is not against personalities or communities that the team goes – it is against evil.

Soul exploration :: Baby surely has a strong heart. There is also the application of the much needed intelligence which has been lacking in Bollywood. It is yet another symbol Bollywood growing up, away from the childishness of flicks like Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3. This is also what Holiday should have been instead of being a masala action thriller, but that was just a remake and stuck to the plans. The movie salutes those who tries and work hard to keep the nation as well as its citizens safe, and this is the one nice tribute to them, and the only one movie which I can consider as a better tribute was Tango Charlie. The movie also works to build on that “Indian” identity which beyond religion, caste, creed, language and colour. Lets give this movie the salute that it deserves, as it doesn’t degrade itself to a commercial flick and try something from the Ek Tha Tiger model either.

How it finishes :: Baby surely needs support, not just because it seems to be the best of the weekend from what I have heard so far, but also because only with such movies succeeding, can we keep the terrible mindless movies away from the big screen. There is an unbelievable amount of toughness in this movie, and this Mission Impossible of India actually settles for five percent of success with their “impossible” as our protagonists say in this movie. Lets make one thing clear; Baby is not Holiday, and it means that you have to take this one seriously. Romance is not mandatory; songs are not needed; villains flying on hero’s contact is a waste – this is Baby, and the movie means something beyond mindless action and thrills; it is above them both intellectually and straight from the heart. Thank you Neeraj Pandey for beginning the Bollywood side so well for me; the first Hindi movie of the year that I watch in the theatre raises my hopes high for the rest of the year.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 159 minutes
Directed by: Neeraj Pandey
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Madhurima Tuli, Taapsee Pannu, Rana Daggubati, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, Kay Kay Menon, Sushant Singh, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Rasheed Naz, Rasheed Naz, Karan Wahi

baby

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.